Ballet is so much more than dance, it can make you and build you

If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you don’t know if you can do it , say ‘YES’, and work out how to do it later.” These words from Richard Branston, resonate with me. It’s exactly how I began my business and how I drive and grow that business forwards every day. It’s a mindset, which developed from my years of ballet training.

When I was younger I was petrified of being upside down. Hated it. Being picked up and turned upside down. I never did cartwheels or handstands, I didn't like being picked up too high or sitting on my dad’s shoulders. Then when I was about eight years old we went to watch the Nutcracker and in one scene the male dancer picked up the female dancer who had turned rigid like a doll. She just stood in 1st position, he came along and picked her up and she didn’t t move an inch. He tipped her upside down and just walked off stage with her, still perfectly still like a doll and it WOWED me!! As soon as we got home I asked my dad to pick me up in the same way and I practiced and practiced and practiced being turned upside down, so I wasn't scared anymore- because to be a ballerina I couldn't be scared.

Later that year, I wrote a letter to the Royal Ballet School, just to let them know I would be arriving at their school when I was 10 to be trained to be a ballerina! I didn’t at one point consider that I would need to audition or, 2 years later, that I wouldn’t be chosen as one of the 15 girls who are carefully selected to join the Royal Ballet Junior School each year. But that is exactly what happened.

At the age of ten, after being a Junior Associate of the Royal Ballet School for the previous three years, dancing with the National Youth Ballet of Great Britain in Sadler’s Wells and the Royal Albert Hall, I completed the 2-day audition to enter the Royal Ballet School. The children, including myself, were whittled down to the last group at the end of the second day and I was certain of my future path. However, it wasn’t meant to be I just missed it. I was devastated and my whole world crashed around me.

You might be thinking this is a terrible experience for a child. But no, it made me who I am today. The world of ballet is competitive and disciplined. I picked myself up, auditioned for some more vocational ballet schools and was accepted at them all including Tring, Elmhurst and Hammond. At the age of twelve, I began my vocational dance training at Hammond Ballet School.

Life is full of ups and downs and its how we cope with the downs as well as the ups that build us and makes us stronger. From my ballet training I learnt very early on that there is always someone better than you, that’s life, but that should not stop you from following your dreams.

Without the discipline that ballet taught me, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I wouldn’t have the drive, determination and ambition that has grown this business that I have today.

It's easier not to try, then you can never fail. To say ‘No, I can’t’. But I truly believe that ballet gave me the mindset that I needed to overcome life’s hurdles and continue to follow my dream.

Following your dreams isn’t always straightforward- the path isn’t always clear but if that passion, determination and belief remain, that dream, in the end, is realised and achieved.

Ballet gave me the mindset I needed to be able to launch and grow tiny toes ballet. Ballet can do that for all children, it can give them the confidence, determination and resilience required for life!

Emma Morgan, Founder & Director of tiny toes ballet ltd.